During a Nov. 24 meeting, campus administration and the Highlander Union Governing Board decided that the Heat 2016 music festival would be cancelled. UCR’s biggest music event will not take place due to weather concerns over what researchers are calling the strongest El Nino event on record, in which a substantial increase in precipitation and wind are projected in Southern California.
According to HUB Director Todd Wingate, “Significant amounts of rain make any outdoor event, especially an event of this magnitude, difficult if not impossible to build and produce … Unfortunately, after careful review, (the HUB) has found that there are no areas on or near campus where an event the size and complexity of Heat could feasibly be safely or cost effectively relocated.”
In a separate vote, the HUB board also approved $200,000 in funding for the Associated Students Program Board (ASPB) to increase the artist budget for the annual Spring Splash concert, set to take place in May. The governing board may also provide additional funding for ASPB’s Winter SOULstice which is looking for an indoor venue.
Marketing Chairperson for ASPB, Katrina Luu, explained that the board will be looking for bigger artists to perform at Spring Splash. “We are extremely excited to be given this opportunity, and we hope the students are excited for Spring Splash 2016,” said Luu. In regards to Winter SOULstice, Luu also confirmed that “the Contemporary Culture division in charge of Winter SOULstice is looking at all of our nearby indoor options … We are hoping to have the concert on a similar scale as previous years, however with room capacities it may differ from past years. If no suitable indoor options can be found before the event, ASPB is still planning on hosting Winter SOULstice.”
HUB board member and ASUCR Vice President of Finance, Shafi Karim, made the only dissenting vote against the decision, claiming that it was made too hastily. “The meeting that happened was our first meeting. This was the meeting that we got trained by none other than, really, admin … and in my opinion we got ambushed with this. When there’s such a big vote there’s usually a 24-hour notice ahead of time to think about it,” Karim elucidated.
Karim is lobbying the HUB board as a result of the vote by hosting an online survey for students on Nov. 26 in order to bring back the concert at a later date. The survey asks whether students stand by the HUB’s decision, if they are open to hosting Heat during spring quarter, prior to Spring Splash or to host that concert as a two-day event.
According to results hosted by the survey, 89.2 percent of 1672 students wanted to have the concert rescheduled, with a majority advocating (63.4 percent) for two separate concerts during spring.
Kevin Hung, a fourth-year media and cultural studies major was also upset about the cancellation, yet understood the reasoning behind it. “Obviously they lost a lot from the previous years (regarding the cancellation of Heat 2014) … I think it’s understandable though because if they had to cancel it again like they did last time, it’d be even worse,” Hung explained.
The cancellation comes as the second in three years for the music festival, which has seen the likes of artists such as Chance the Rapper, Porter Robinson, Tyga and Childish Gambino as billed acts.